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Jinjiang puts its best foot forward as companies expand global reach

Updated: 2012-08-08 10:25
By Wang Ximin and Zhao Huanxin in Jinjiang, Fujian ( China Daily)

City famous for its private enterprises seeks bigger piece of pie on international stage

Undeterred by global financial travails, Jinjiang, a small city in Fujian province, is looking to foster more international brands to further enhance its entrepreneurial and manufacturing prowess.

Jinjiang puts its best foot forward as companies expand global reach

Anta Sports Products Ltd's booth at the China International Sporting Goods Show in Beijing in May. The Jinjiang-based company is the official sponsor of the medal winners from China's national teams. [Photo/China Daily]

Jinjiang, roughly the same size as Singapore, is already well-known in China as a major hub of private enterprises in industries like shoes and sportswear. The city, which is a three-hour drive from Fuzhou, the provincial capital, is also home to several private industry clusters and leading domestic brands.

"There are more than 126 nationally certified brands in Jinjiang, the most in any county-level city," said Liu Wenru, the mayor of the city. "Though most of these brands are well-known names in China, they are hardly known outside the country."

According to Liu, the city is looking to transfer its success in building domestic brands onto the global stage. To that end, it will encourage mergers and acquisitions and other expansion moves by domestic enterprises.

"Through these activities, we want to build a bunch of globally recognized brands in the next few years" he said.

Companies from Jinjiang have already set up 47 overseas sales agencies, in addition to more than 30,000 exclusive dealerships or direct sales shops in the mainland. "Though there are several options, we believe M&As are the best option for companies to boost their global presence, market share and profits."

To achieve these objectives, the city will use its expertise in various industries and not restrict itself. Liu said it is important for companies to identify good opportunities.

"In North America, you just can't find made-in-China foodstuffs in any of the markets," he said.

"Some of the food producers from Jinjiang are already in the process of buying milk powder and other food products from Australia, New Zealand and some South American countries. Such ties will help Chinese companies sell their products in overseas markets."

To encourage Chinese companies to engage in M&A, Jinjiang will offer not only incentives, but also rewards for enterprises that acquire well-known global brands, the mayor said.

The first private enterprise in Jinjiang came along in March 1979, and there are at least 16,000 such companies now. The city, with a population of more than 1 million people, also made use of the huge number of houses left vacant by people migrating overseas for private enterprises.

At the same time, the number of people who have migrated from Jinjiang has also been one of its major strengths. More than 2 million people from Jinjiang live in 58 countries and regions, mostly in Southeast Asia, said Liu.

Discussing the city's success with domestic brands, Liu said sportswear brands such as Anta, Xtep, 361 and the hygiene products maker Hengan Group are all based in Jinjiang. Thirty-eight companies from the city have already been listed on domestic or international stock markets. Eight more companies are likely to follow suit this year, Liu said.

"It is perseverance and entrepreneurship that have helped most of these companies develop products ranging from cheap sandals and slippers to top-notch shoes."

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